Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for saying people 'choose' to be gay during a speech to mark the start of LGBT History Month.
The speech on Wednesday (1 February) expressed solidarity, as Corbyn spoke out against right-wing policies that he said threatened the LGBT community. However, it was his closing statement that sparked outrage: "Our defence of you is a defence of all of humanity and the right of people to practise the life they want to practise, rather than be criminalised, brutalised and murdered, simply because they chose to be gay, they chose to be lesbian, they were LGBT in any form."
A video of the speech was broadcast on Facebook Live for Pink news, and quickly sparked a backlash on social media. One Twitter user commented: "I felt betrayed by @jeremycorbyn stance on #Brexit & enabling May & his latest gaffe saying #LGBT is a "choice" is just another kick."
Another said: "I expected better from @jeremycorbyn."
However, others stood up for Corbyn, thanking him for being "a great allyto #lgbt people."
Corbyn's office defended the comments, telling Pink News: "Jeremy clearly doesn't believe that being gay is a choice, adding: "He obviously meant people should be able to choose how they live their lives."
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has also been criticised in the past for his stance on LGBT rights. In 2015 Farron, who is a devout Christian, refused to respond when repeatedly asked during a television interview whether he regarded gay sex to be a sin.
Farron later said people should "respect my beliefs as a Christian."
Corbyn also spoke out against newly elected US President Donald Trump in the speech, saying he was "fearful of the future," adding: "I think you will see a growth of unity... of communities are being attacked by a right-wing, nasty agenda. And so it is up to us to express solidarity with all of those people."
In what could be seen as an attack on UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who has come under fire this week for inviting US President Donald Trump on a state visit to the UK, despite his controversial travel band against a number of predominantly Muslim countries, Corbyn said people must make their voices heard.
"There's only one answer to this – you don't stand back, you stand forward, you move forward and you challenge it and protest about it," he said.
May did however hit back at Corbyn during Prime Minister's Questions earlier on Wednesday. When she was asked about the government's response to Trump's travel ban, she said: "He can lead a protest, I'm leading a country."